Friday, July 31, 2015

Healthy Boundaries and the Billy Graham Rule

Recently, we saw a local pastor, Billy Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjian, resign from his senior pastoral position because of an inappropriate sexual relationship.   It is always most unfortunate when an individual has serious moral failures that limit their ability to function whether as a husband, wife, employee, pastor or priest.

The Billy Graham rule is that neither Billy Graham nor any of his associates, would ever meet, eat, or travel with a woman alone. Billy Graham also established high standards of financial accountability for his ministry that have been subsequently adopted by over 1,700 Christian ministries in the United States. In Chapter 3 of 1st Timothy, the Apostle Paul asks his young disciple and apprentice in ministry, “if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?

Billy Graham observed his rule as “a strategy to protect his marriage and to avoid even the appearance of an inappropriate relationship.”  In our ministries and churches we should consider this rule today and similar rules for two reasons:

1) We are called to a higher purpose so we follow a higher standard

The bible is clear that legalism will never save us. We have an understanding of grace and as a result don’t recommend a ‘do not touch’ rule for things that are not inherently sinful.   However, when we have the privilege of serving in a leadership capacity in a church, when we seek that role and may even be compensated for the privilege,  we are reminded of Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians that we are to “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)

2) We are called to protect the reputation of the Church

Paul reminded Timothy of how people were to conduct themselves in the church.   If Paul's instructions are true for congregants and members, it is doubly true for those that are in leadership.

“If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

The church is often accused of hypocrisy.   Charges of hypocrisy in the midst of scandal ultimately damage the ministry and effectiveness of the local church and the Body of Christ.  In order to bring clarity to what is helpful and healthy in the Body of Christ, organizations need to consider the best way to communicate what are often unwritten policies that all too often are not known by the junior and less experienced members of the staff and/or ignored by many.

Here are some questions that would be appropriate for the leadership of the church or ministry to address:
  1. Are people of the opposite sex to be alone together?  Other than married couples, should people in ministry be meeting behind closed doors, in homes or in counseling sessions then a third-party is not present?  
  2. Do we abstain from all sexual relationships outside the bounds of marriage?
  3. Do we permit abusive language or other abusive treatment of individuals including children, elders and family members in and outside of the home?
  4. Do we refrain from all illegal drugs?
  5. Are we abstaining from all forms of pornography?
  6. Do we continually strive for unity in all things or do we create dissension within the Church?
  7. Do we honor all in the church, giving preference to one another.

When we are growing in Christ and becoming more like him, we may ultimately be able to live without some of the boundaries that may be appropriate for less mature Christians.  However, none of us are above temptation and all of us should provide an example to others that keeps them from stumbling.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10-80-10 Delegation Model

One of the most important aspects of leadership in any organization is the ability to delegate authority to others.   Delegation is especially key for both leadership development as well as maintaining a healthy work/life balance.   At some point in a growing organization it is literally impossible for one decision maker to make all of the decisions and the sooner others are able to learn how to make decisions and handle authority, the faster they develop the leadership skills necessary for both the individual as well as the organization to succeed.

While these numbers, 10-80-10 have been used to describe other processes or aspects within organizations, I use these numbers as percentages that conveniently equal 100% to intentionally describe how to identify when the leader and subordinate need to connect and when the subordinate is ‘on-their-own’ in developing and coordinating tasks, projects and ongoing processes.

10% Leader Directs

The first 10% is critical as it allows the leader to direct and clarify the objective, the scope, the resources and the time expectations of any new project, task or assignment.  For example, the purchase of a new piece of equipment is task that is assigned to the subordinate by the leader.    The purpose, function, use, and budget is discussed as well as any important factors.   Both the leader and the subordinate utilize and sharpen their communication skills as they discuss and listen to each other as the purchase is envisioned.

80% Subordinate Collects

The middle 80% is the duty and responsibility of the subordinate as the project, task or assignment takes shape.  In the example of the purchase of a new piece of equipment, various alternative products are compared, prices reviewed and some initial negotiation takes place.  The subordinate may have already been delegated some authority to purchase within specific parameters or from specific vendors.  Alternatives, options, pricing and timing are considerations that need to be fully understood, processed and ultimately communicated with the leader in the final 10%

10% Leader Reflects

The final 10% provides the leader with all of the information necessary to reflect on all of the information collected in order to make the right decision.   When the 10-80-10 is functioning effectively, a thoughtful and articulate recommendation is presented by the subordinate that makes it easy for the leader to understand any important aspects of the project, task or assignment and gives the leader the opportunity to fine-tune any detail (i.e. color, timing, placement) either based on preference or for standardization.

The 10-80-10 Delegation Model works just as well, if not even better for ongoing projects and assignments.   It provides for a quick review at the beginning and the end of any cycle (i.e. class, calendar or fiscal year, purchase, season).  The advantage is that if scheduled intentionally, it provides a framework for continuous improvement in communication (both oral and written), process, and leadership development.   Leaders can have confidence that they will have the first and the last say on all important projects, tasks or assignments and subordinates get a clear understanding of the desires, wishes and concerns of the leader.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

The Power of Intentionality

According to Ken Keis, President and founder of “Living on Purpose, ” a Canadian consulting resource group,  95% to 97% of all people live their lives on autopilot . . . he claims that the vast majority, nearly all of us, don't consciously even think about most of the things we do each day.  

This gets to the heart of my teaching on the power of intentionality.   While intentionality is a central concept in philosophy, it is also central to living a life of faith.  We learn this primarily from what we know about God.  God was intentional in sending Jesus.  The bible says it was because of His love for mankind that He sent His Son.   Jesus was so intentional in going to the cross at Calvary that the Bible says he “set his face towards Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).  In more modern translations it says Jesus “resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (New International Version)

Living an intentional life is all about living a life on purpose, not by happenstance.

There are three keys to learning how to live intentional.  In understanding these three keys, any individual will discover the power of intentionality

Key #1 – Remember that you were created for a purpose:

The very first chapter of Pastor Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” says clearly that “It’s not about you”.  These are actually the very first words in his book.   He goes on to tell us that there are actually five purposes that each man, each woman have that are all given by God.   These purposes include Purpose #3 (to become like Christ) and purpose #4 (To serve God).

These two purposes alone can provide a day’s worth of intentionality, every day. 

Key #2 -  Strive to have more impact on the culture around you than the culture has on you.  

Culture can be defined as including 1) Language, 2) Symbols, 3) Borders and 4) Values.   As we travel internationally, we quickly can see the differences in culture as soon as we go through customs and immigration and are greeted by the border agent who speaks a unique language.  The country has it’s own unique symbols and often the values vary greatly from country to country or from region or group.    When my kids were young, they often wanted to go places, have friends or attend activities that their mother and I felt were not beneficially.  I remember telling my daughter that she could go and participate anywhere when she had more impact on the people and places than they had on her. 

Key #3 – Know and live your mission. 

Each of us has been given not only a mission but also many missions over our lifetime.  Often, these missions are but for a season.   A young mother, for example, has no greater mission than the care and nurturing of her children.  This mission takes priority over all others but lasts but for a season.  It is the mission where we focus our time and our energy.   We learn quickly that all else either aids in the development of the mission or is a distraction. A life of intentionality identifies each, embraces the one and dismisses the other.

Our present missions may be the greatest key in living a life of intentionality.   Mission intentionality goes beyond what we are doing or even how we may be doing it and answers the question why.   When we know why we (teach, preach, lead, buy, sell, visit, fish, bowl, swim, love, help, create, direct, manage, etc.) we have the key to the power of intentionality.   In this, we not only live a life of intentionality but also find our purpose and our passion.

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